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“ More Heads Around A Screen“. Pilot Findings From A Study On The Use of Tablet PCs To Support Collaborative Learning. George D.T. , Passerini, K., Jones, Q., Hiltz, S.R., Manikopoulos, C. New Jersey Institute of Technology. Summary.

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more heads around a screen

“More Heads Around A Screen“

Pilot Findings From A Study On The Use of Tablet PCs To Support Collaborative Learning

George D.T., Passerini, K., Jones, Q., Hiltz, S.R., Manikopoulos, C.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • This research provides a proposed framework in which to examine the use of Tablet PCs for collaborative team-based learning.
  • It contributes to a further understanding of the influence of the TAM on computer mediated collaboration and instruction; and the possible impacts on learning
  • Literature Background
    • Educational Uses of the Tablet PC
  • Collaborative Learning
    • Collaborative Learning with Tablet PC
  • Framework
  • Task
  • Results
educational uses of the tablet pc
In the educational literature, tablet PCs (TPC) have found to be supportive of :



Instructor-Student Interaction

Student-Student Interaction


Educational Uses of the Tablet PC
tablet pc education enhancements lecturing
Tablet PC education enhancements - Lecturing

Lecturing with the TPC

  • Allows lecturer to add impromptu annotations to slides or to create new drawings/diagrams using “digital ink”
  • “Digital Ink” allows more flexibility of expression in responding to questions.
  • Allows archiving drawings/annotations for later review and reference.
tablet pc education enhancements note taking
Note-taking with the TPC

Allows students to make personalized annotations to the lecturers slides using “digital ink”.

TPC allows free-hand note-taking

Allows for easy archiving and sharing of digital notes.

Tablet PC education enhancements – Note Taking
tablet pc education enhancements interaction
Teacher-Student, Student-Student Interaction

When TPCs are networked:

Students may draw directly on instructors slides during a lecture (for the whole class to see…as instructor allows).

Highly flexible/interactive classes where students may use the TPC to solve problems and respond to the instructor’s questions with “digital Ink”.

Students may take notes collaboratively using “digital ink” and share freehand annotations in real-time.

Tablet PC education enhancements – Interaction
tablet pc education enhancements grading

TPC allows instructors to annotate and comment on students work with “digital ink”

Provides an excellent tool for peer review and peer grading of assignment.

Archival nature of digital documents make them readily distributable and available for future reference.

Tablet PC education enhancements – Grading
collaborative learning with tpcs
Collaborative Learning with TPCs
  • Computer Supported Collaborative Learning - Students generate knowledge through the interaction with their peers through the help of computers/technology.
  • Given the flexibility of expression / communication that the TPC allows, it is anticipated that the TPC may be an ideal tool to support collaborative learning activities.

Framework Constructs for Pilot Study Using the TPC for Collaborative Learning

  • Motivation
  • Enjoyment*
  • Ease of use*
  • Usefulness*
  • Perceived learning outcomes
  • Self efficacy*
  • Collective efficacy
  • Time management strategies
  • Intention to use*

*Based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).


When Using the TPC for Collaborative Learning:

  • H1a & b: Higher degrees of motivation and enjoyment will increase perceived learning outcomes.
  • H2a & b: Higher degrees of perception of “usefulness” and “ease of use” that individuals experience will increase the degree of intention to use it for future tasks.
  • H3a & b: Higher degrees of the perception of “ease of use” and “usefulness” of the TPC that individuals experience will increase the intention to use the TPC fortime management.

When Using the TPC for Collaborative Learning

  • H4a & b: Higher degrees of perception of “usefulness” and “ease of use” that individuals experience will increase Perceived Learning Outcomes.
  • H5a & b: the higher degrees of self efficacy and collective efficacy expressed by participants will increase Perceived Learning Outcomes.
  • H6a & b: the higher degrees of self efficacy expressed by participants will increase Perceived Ease of Use and Usefulness
  • H7: the higher degrees of enjoyment expressed by participants will increase collective efficacy
collaborative learning with tablet pc pilot research framework
Enhanced Communication/ Expression

Collective Efficacy





Perceived/Actual Learning Outcomes





Teams w/t TabletPCs

Ease of Use


Intention to Use






Self Efficacy


Time Mgt Strategies


Collaborative Learning with Tablet PC Pilot Research Framework
the task
Course: Knowledge Management   (MGMT- 650 )

Took place over a 4 week time frame (4 different exercises)

Students organized into 10 different teams

1 TPC per Team

Teams alternated each week using the TPC

Students had varying amounts of exposure to using the TPC (from 5 minutes to a week)

The Task
the survey and subjects
The Survey and Subjects
  • A 46 item survey was administered at the end of the semester. 33 out of 40 study participants responded.

Gender Demographics

  • 21 males
  • 8 Females
  • 4 provided no gender information
  • Most of the participants declared of being between 18-35 yrs old
results and analysis
Results and Analysis
  • All constructs yielded “> 4” except Perceived Usefulness
  • Population was nearly equally divided based on “Usefulness” construct.
  • Divided population into 2 groups based on “Usefulness” construct.
  • The 2 groups differed significantly on all constructs except Self and Collective Efficacy.
bivariate correlation analysis significance 0 01 0 025 0 05 0 10
Bivariate Correlation AnalysisSignificance: “****” => α=0.01, “***” => α=0.025, “**” => α=0.05,“*” => α=0.10
  • All constructs showed statistically moderate to strong correlations (Pearson’s R)
bivariate correlation analysis cont significance 0 01 0 025 0 05 0 10
Bivariate Correlation Analysis – cont’Significance: “****” => α=0.01, “***” => α=0.025, “**” => α=0.05,“*” => α=0.10
  • All constructs showed statistically moderate to strong correlations (Pearson’s R)
framework hypotheses
Collective Efficacy

(+)H7 Supported


(+)H5b supported




Perceived/Actual Learning Outcomes

(+)H1b supported



(+)H4a supported


(+)H4b supported


Teams w/t Tablet PCs

Ease of Use

(+) H2a supported


Intention to Use

(+) H2b supported




(+)H3a supported


(+)H3b supported


Time Mgt Strategies

(+)H6b supported


Self Efficacy

(+) H1a not supported R=0.11

(-) H6a Not supported R=-0.04

“*” means significant at the α = 0.10 level.

“**” means significant at the α = 0.05 level.

All other values of R shown are significant at the α = 0.01 level

(+)H5a supported


Framework & Hypotheses
findings and impressions
Findings and Impressions

Overall bivariate correlation show a general support for the hypotheses, except for

  • Unsupported: “Self Efficacy” – No significant correlation with “Ease of Use” (contrary to TAM)
  • Unsupported: “Motivation” in this situation – No significant correlation with Perceived Learning
  • TAM corroborated by findings concerning

“Enjoyment”, “Ease of Use”, “Usefulness” and “Intention to Use”

findings and impressions cont
Findings and Impressions – Cont’
  • TAM may also explain Perceived Learning Outcomes and Time Management Strategies
  • “Usefulness” has a very strong correlation with Perceived Learning Outcomes (R=0.80)
  • Groups differing on “Usefulness” differ on every other construct except Self and Collective Efficacy
findings and impressions cont1
Findings and Impressions – Cont’
  • “Motivation” negatively correlated with “Usefulness” (did tool fit the task?)
  • “Self Efficacy” only positively correlated with

Perceived Learning Outcomes (…self-directed learning)

  • “Collective Efficacy” – significant correlation with “Ease of Use” (group dynamics?).
limitations and future research
  • The TPC didn’t facilitate group communication (served more as group repository)
  • 1 TPC per group and limited practice with it (ie Steep learning curve)
  • All groups were able at some point to use the TPC.

Future Research will use control groups (some with TPCs others without)

limitations and future research cont

Future research will examine:

  • Effects of the TPCs more flexible means of expression (Communication Enhancement)
  • The effects of social influence on Technology Acceptance (TAM2)
  • Larger/more classes will be examined (only 33 students surveyed)
  • Apparent strong influence of “Usefulness” (Implies a need for discovery of best practices for TPC- based Collaborative Learning)
contributions and conclusions
Contributions and Conclusions
  • The Technology acceptance model in addition to explaining Intention to Use, may also explain or exert a positive influence on Perceived Learning Outcomes and Time Management Strategies.
  • Perceived Usefulness - very strong role in the successful use of the TPC in supporting collaborative team-based learning (tool must fit task)
  • Collective Efficacy - seems to be a stronger determinant of Ease of Use than individual Self Efficacy as it concerns collaborative learning with TPC and TAM
contributions and conclusions1
Contributions and Conclusions


  • This research is partially supported by grants from the National Science Foundation ( NSF CISE 0454081 and 0534520). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and may not reflect those of the National Science Foundation..
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